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  • Basics
    • Framing All bearing points should be properly supported.
    • Foundation Any strapping or bolts should already be in place and secure.
    • Sheathing Should be in place and nailed according to code.
    • Headers Must be installed and supported according to code.
    • Insulation Insulation should meet standards and be appropriately fire-blocked as needed.
    • Mechanical Plumbing, electrical and HVAC installation should be complete.
    • Windows/doors These should be properly installed and functional.
  • Interior
    • Attic. Any blown insulation should be completed and certificate card posted; pull down stairs installed
    • Bath All glass doors must be verified as tempered glass.
    • Banisters/stairs Railings should be in place and wheelchair access provided where indicated (commercial installations).
    • Outlets All electrical outlets should be covered and grounded properly.
    • Garage The entire garage area should be fire-stopped and doors properly installed.
  • Exterior
    • Roof The roof should be fully installed, sealed, and flashing nailed down. Gutters and downspouts should be in place.
    • Ventilation Vents and exhaust openings should be sealed and caulked around.
    • Wood Exterior wood should be primed and painted or sealed.
    • Concrete Drives and walkways should be appropriately footed and graded to provide drainage away from the foundation.
    • House Numbers These should be installed on the house in full view of the street, and if possible numbers should be painted on the curb as well.
  • Legal
    • Permit This should be posted in plain view of the street.
    • Plans Architectural plans should be available for the inspector to review.
    • Zoning Appropriate paperwork should be available showing proof of zoning exception, if needed.

A building inspection takes place to determine the structural integrity of the building. Generally two inspections are conducted; if there are problems that show up on the first inspection (and there often are) a fair period of time is allowed for them to be remedied and then a second inspection takes place. The following checklist comprises some of the main items that will be reviewed by a building inspector, along with suggestions of what professionals to hire to ensure proper remedial action is taken so the final inspection will result in a pass.


An official building inspection is generally performed by a city, township or county employee who is certified in one or more disciplines.  Sometimes several inspections are called for if a structure in the process of being built is very large and there are vast installations in each category. In such cases, separate specialists may be called in to inspect different portions of the building such as plumbing, electrical or mechanical at varying stages of completion to ensure that the building meets all applicable codes. This can include additions or exterior features such as swimming pools or detached garages or workshops.

Private building inspectors are occasionally employed to inspect houses under build to provide a preliminary report as to whether the building is up to code or not, or as part of a home inspection in relation to a sale of the property. These inspectors must be certified by the local governing body if the inspection is to be used in a legal binding contract. ¬†Building inspectors will conduct a complete walkthrough of the structure, note any problems, and present advice on how to remedy situations that cause the building to not pass. In the case of older structures, a ‘dilapidation’ report may be issued with a listing of issues and suggestions for fixing them. These should be implemented with as little disruption to the surrounding area as possible, and no destruction of adjoining properties should result.

Building Inspection Checklist
  Nicole Nichols-West

on December 28, 2011

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